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Monday, November 09, 2009

Bravo to the Brave Members of Congress Who Voted NO

UPDATE:  While Pfizer is taken to task for its erroneous ways, members of Congress may be in the same pack -
EVIDENCE OF PhRMA’S SWEET DEAL – TNR’s Jonathan Cohn reports: “Critics have complained that a drug industry got a sweetheart deal when it struck a bargain with the White House and Senate Finance Committee over health care reform. There’s new reason to think those critics were right. It comes from an October forecast by IMS Health, a respected global research and consulting firm. The report, which IMS distributed to clients and which a source provided, projects that the drug industry will see average annual growth of 3.5 percent between 2008 and 2013. Back in March, IMS had projected no growth at all during that same five-year stretch. In fact, it projected the drug business would actually contract slightly--with negative annual growth of 0.01 percent. What changed? A major factor, according to IMS, was the emerging details of health care reform.”

If you aren't aware that Pelosi's latest FOC bill, HR 3962, is just another handout to Big Insurance and Big PhARMA then you aren't paying close enough attention.

The main policy difference between then and now is that the House and Senate bills require individuals to buy health insurance. The requirement is in there because it was demanded by the insurance industry; it assures them of tens of millions of new customers, many of whom will be relatively young and healthy. Read the rest of this article
This 1993 page bill contains some things that may end up creating, once again, zero sum change -
Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. It is made clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

Camp said: “This is the ultimate example of command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail. It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately.”

Key excerpts from the JCT letter appear below: “H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…” [page 2]
Criminal penalties - Prosecution is authorized under the Code for a variety of offenses. Depending on the level of the noncompliance, the following penalties could apply to an individual: Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000
And I am pleased to know that Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, had this to say after he cast his NO vote:
But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies—a bailout under a blue cross.  Read complete article
And did you stop to question why the IRS is involved in this debate?

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